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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 7, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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and after 18 years, it's time. god bless all of you, and god bless football. >> five-time league mvp, two-time super bowl winner, retiring as one of the all-time greats. thanks for being with me. "the lead" starts right now. "the lead" starts right now. a furious day on the trail after signs that ted cruz may emerge as donald trump's only challenger and as newly minted insult comic marco rubio falls way back of the pack. signs that they have had it with one another. bernie sanders and hillary clinton not playing nice anymore. with another super tuesday on the horizon and michigan holding the biggest bundle of delegates tomorrow. plus, she is the highest paid female athlete in the world and today tennis star maria sharapova promised she would
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make a major announcement and she did not disappoint, admitting to a huge mistake. good afternoon, everyone, welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. new this afternoon in this intense primary season, a new poll showing donald trump beating marco rubio in his home state of florida where a new anti-trump tv ad features a former prisoner of war attacking trump for attacking p.o.w.s. just this hour trump released his own negative ad in florida targeting marco rubio. that's right, we are in the thick of it and more primary and caucus contests are coming as well as debates following some unexpected results over the weekend. today our focus shifts to michigan, which holds its democratic and republican primaries tomorrow. ted cruz, john kasich, hillary clinton and bernie sanders are there today. it's the big prize tomorrow along with mississippi as well as the republican caucuses in hawaii and a primary in idaho. donald trump is favored to win michigan tomorrow but senator ted cruz is hoping his two
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strong wins this weekend in kansas and maine will help whittle down the field so he can go mano a mano with trump. both trump and cruz are calling for rubio and kasich to drop out of the race. >> they're both pushing hard to turn this into a two-man race. ted cruz coming off his big weekend just added two events for tonight, one in mississippi, one in michigan. not wanting to lose any of the momentum he picked up over the weekend. >> should we do the pledge? raise your hand. i swear i'm going to vote for donald trump. >> reporter: donald trump and ted cruz making the case that the republican nominating fight is now looking like a two-man battle. >> i would love to take on ted one on one. >> reporter: both using their wins to pressure their rivals to reassess their campaigns. >> you're able to win primaries and not amassing delegating, i
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think every candidate has to meet with their team and say do they have a path. >> reporter: cruz's potential path getting a boost after banking crucial wins in maine and kansas, picking up more delegates this weekend than any other candidate. >> we've beaten donald trump not once, not twice, but seven times in states all across this country with wide geographic diversity. >> reporter: trump with wins in louisiana and kentucky leading with 389 delegates. cruz 302. rubio after winning puerto rico at 149 and john kasich far behind with just 37 delegates. trump, meanwhile, is hoping for another big super tuesday showing. >> we're going to have, i think, a couple of good ones tomorrow, i hope. >> reporter: the big prize tomorrow night, delegate-rich michigan. the polls there showing trump leading by a large margin. >> i've been to michigan a lot. i think we're going to do well
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there. >> reporter: that as the candidates keep their eyes on some big prizes up for grabs on march 15th, including florida, where rubio faces a do-or-die situation. trump taunting his rival today. >> i tell you what, that guy couldn't be elected dog catcher in florida. >> reporter: rubio is barnstorming his home turf looking to keep his presidential hopes alive. >> i'm the only one left that can unite us, but i'm also the one left that can grow it. >> reporter: outside groups are hoping to stop him from picking up a win by launching an assault on the air waves. depicting what a trump presidency might sound like and featuring ads with veterans to slam trump's lack of military service. >> don't let trump fool you. look into his real record and stop trump now. >> reporter: and there is a new florida poll out this afternoon from monmouth university showing that trump is leading. he is ahead of rubio by eight points, ahead of cruz by 21
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points. of course florida is a winner take all state. 99 delegates at stake next tuesday. >> sunlen serfaty, thank you so much. let's talk to the leading republican campaigns now. steven miller, senior policy advisor to donald trump and ron nehring, national spokesman for the ted cruz campaign. mr. trump just released a negative ad in florida targeting marco rubio. take a quick listen. >> marco rubio, another corrupt, all talk, no action politician. >> the fact that you have released this ad today suggests to me that you are at least a little bit worried about rubio in florida. >> first of all, jake, thanks for having me on. it's great to talk with you. what we're worried about is what marco rubio is going to do to florida and the whole country. let's remember what the trump campaign has always been about. it's been about returning power to the working people of this
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country. what this ad is about is about the corruption of marco rubio. marco rubio, who ran for senate in 2010 on a solemn promise to defeat amnesty, then became the biggest champion of amnesty in the entire u.s. congress. marco rubio, the no-show senator who spent all of his time fund-raising and betraying the voters of florida. a man who has shown that his only allegiance is to the donor class. so we are trying to stop marco rubio in florida because we are worried about what marco rubio will do to this country. >> ron, let me go to you. ted cruz calling for rubio and kasich to drop out. rubio just won a contest yesterday. why should he drop out? >> only one candidate is on a pathway to defeat donald trump, become the republican nominee and defeat hillary clinton going into november and that's ted cruz. marco rubio simply can't win enough delegates as we goes
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forward. every time they wind up losing, a state which they said they would win, they always come back with the same response, which is, well, the map looking forward looks great for us but it doesn't. and the fact that marco rubio is having to spend all this time trying to defend his own state really is proof of that. so these other candidates who can't get to the nomination really need to consider whether they want to continue or whether they should drop out and then ted cruz will become the alternative to donald trump. >> stephen, i want to get your response to a new ad that the american future fund is putting out in florida that features former prisoner of war, lieutenant tom hanton who spent 13 months in the hanoi hilton. >> when i heard donald trump call us losers, that's the most infuriating comment i've heard from a politician in my entire life.
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trump would not have survived a p.o.w. experience. he would have been probably the first one to fold. learn about donald trump, he is not what he appears to be. >> your boss said of john mccain last summer he's not a war hero. i like people who weren't captured. do you think that trump's view of prisoners of war might influence how he would act as commander in chief if a service member were captured? he has voiced an opinion that he doesn't like people who were captured. >> i don't think anybody believes that donald trump's comment at that moment was serious. what i can tell you is that no candidate will be better for veterans than donald trump. veterans are dying waiting for health care in this country and there are plenty of politicians in washington, d.c., who talk a good game while our veterans die waiting for needed care. so i tell you solemnly today, there is no candidate who will be better for our veterans than donald j. trump and that is the bottom line. >> stephen, you just heard from a former prisoner of war who took seriously what donald trump
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said. >> there's no doubt that people are going to spend millions of dollars on ads trying to throw everything they can at donald trump. that's just the fact. we understand that. marco rubio and ted cruz are going to spend tens of millions of dollars more than donald trump is going to spend. listen, read between the lines to what ron is saying today. ron keeps saying we're the only ones that can keep donald trump. we're the only ones that can defeat this person and that person. what our campaign is talking about is winning for the american people. everybody else is obsessed with politics. every other campaign is obsessed with we're going to stop this person, we're going to stop this person. what about we're going to stop the donor class from taking away the birth right of american citizens who have been be trade by trade deals that sent our jobs oversees, by immigration policies that send our wealth away from the working people of this country. we're going to win for american workers. >> ron, let me ask you going forward, where can ted cruz women? what's the next state you think
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you're going to win. >> you'll have to forgive me if i don't engage in the curtain raising in that regard. we're going to continue to pick up delegates and outperform marco rubio and we'll outperform donald trump in other states. we're going to continue to do that and then, of course, as we all know, there's going to be a great amount of attention placed upon florida because marco rubio is in so much trouble among the people who know him best. that's why i was in florida this past weekend. that's why the candidates are stepping up the campaigns there because marco rubio is weak. marco rubio can't win florida. it's going to be only a question as to which candidate does and that's why we're fully active and engaged there. >> stephen miller, ron nehring, thank you to both of you. >> thank you. sanders won last night's cnn's debate as least when it comes to jiffable moments but seeing him roll his eyes and wag his finger on an endless loop might do his campaign more harm than didn't.
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switch to liberty mutual and you could save up to $509 call today at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. let's stay with our politics
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lead. based on the following responses, i want you at home to try to guess the candidate who said them in a distinct new york accent. one, excuse me, i'm talking. two, can i finish, please, all right? and three, when you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto. you don't know what it's like to be poor. well, who do you think it is? no, i'm not talking about donald trump. those are all things that senator bernie sanders said last night at the cnn democratic debate in flint, michigan. joe johns is with senator sanders in dearborn, michigan. the clinton campaign and some in the media said sanders was disrespectful to clinton and managed to offend with his comments on race. is that true? and how is he responding today? >> reporter: well, he is certainly pushing back on all of that. as you said, senator sanders here in dearborn today. his campaign and the candidate himself using words like "deceptive" and "dishonest" to describe hillary clinton. he also admitted that he was a little taken aback when she
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accused him of voting against the automobile bailout bill in 2009. after squaring off at last night's cnn debate in flint, michigan, the democratic candidates are back on the campaign trail. senator bernie sanders today eager to correct the record, after hillary clinton's claim that he voted against the 2008 auto industry bailout. >> last night secretary clinton went out of her way to mischaracterize my history as it relates to the 2008 auto industry bailout. i voted for the auto bailout. >> reporter: but sanders got in a bailout jab of his own, slamming clinton's ties to wall street. >> well, i -- if you were talking about the wall street bailout where some of your friends destroyed this economy -- >> you know -- >> excuse me, i'm talking. >> let him respond. >> if you're going to talk, tell the whole story, senator
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sanders. >> let me tell my story, you tell yours. >> i will. >> and it didn't end there. >> when billionaires on wall street destroyed this economy, they went to congress and they said, oh please, we'll be good boys. bail us out. you know what i said? i said let the billionaires themselves bail out wall street. it shouldn't be the middle class of this country. >> okay. >> wait a minute. could i finish? you'll have your turn. >> reporter: sanders today defending his method of attack. >> she ended up going on many occasions far -- spoke a lot longer than the time allotment allow had e. and when he was speaking she interrupted me, i didn't interrupt her. but i think in the middle of a debate is somebody is trying to make a point and somebody else interrupts you, i think that's rude. >> reporter: sanders who has struggled to gain traction with african-american voters also received criticism to his response to a question about his racial blind spots. >> when you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto.
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you don't know what it's like to be poor. >> reporter: but on the sensitive issue of gun control today, sanders got some words of praise from an unlikely ally, the national rifle association, which put out a statement calling the candidate's comments in the debate spot on about making gun manufacturers legally liable for the harm their products cause. sanders said liability would drive them out of business. >> if anybody can sue a gun manufacturer or anybody else when somebody uses that weapon irresponsibly, that means you're shutting down the entire industry. if that is secretary clinton's position, let her state it. that is not my position. >> reporter: a busy day for bernie sanders today. kalamazoo first and later to dearborn. later he'll be in ann arbor in the windup to primary day. he is telling his supporters if there's a big turnout, he'll get over the top. >> former press secretary for
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the 2012 campaign, ben lebolt and jonathan lassini. jonathan, let me start with you. as you heard in joe's piece, the nra tweeted senator sanders was spot on about guns at last night's debate. i'm assumg that is an unwanted endorsement for the senator? >> well, bernie sanders has a d minus rating from the nra. the nra can say whatever it wants. bernie has been very clear on the campaign trail that he does not believe that small store gun owners should be held liable when some crazy person goes off and commits a terrible crime with a gun. at the same time he's been very clear for many, many weeks that he wants to go back and co-sponsor and get together on the larger question of liability so he wants to revisit that. so the -- it's like saying if henry kissinger said let's bomb iran, should we hold hillary clinton responsible for something that henry kissinger says? >> well, i think he tried to do
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that at one point but be that as it may, ben, let me ask you. secretary clinton said senator sanders voted against the bailout for the auto industry. obviously that's a powerful thing to accuse him of doing in michigan. but sanders voted for the $15 billion package to rescue chrysler and ge but only when it was tied in with the big bank bailout is he against it. doesn't he have a case to make to suggest he was against the bailout? >> the michigan senator said the only way to get that funding through would be to do it within the t.a.r.p. legislation. senator sanders voted against that. it seems like he's campaigning more on the side of mitt romney, who said let detroit go bankrupt. >> go ahead, jonathan. >> i'm holding up a card which is a union card. i'm a member of the united autoworkers. i've been a member for 25 years. and i would not support a candidate that was not a solid
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uaw supporter that was behind workers all the way. he was for the auto bailout and "the washington post" essentially called the clinton campaign a liar or misrepresenting saying it seems like she's willing to take the gamble that fact checkers may call her out for her tactics but voters won't. the reason they're making this emphasis, jake, is because she has supported bad trade agreements, nafta and all those trade agreements that have destroyed the lives of working people, autoworkers in michigan, ohio, for many, many years. that's really the achilles heel. let's debate those trade issues. those are the things that have hurt middle class americans, working class americans in ohio and particularly autoworkers. >> let me ask you something, ben, because the clinton campaign is making a thing out of bernie sanders saying excuse me, i'm talking. is there an unfair thing going on when it comes to gender that is actually hurting bernie sanders? if he had said that to a male candidate, would anybody have
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been saying oh, how rude? >> i think what's interesting about last night is secretary clinton got under bernie sanders' skin and he's not good when he gets attacked. presidents take heat every single day and one of the things the electorate judges you on is how you can handle that pressure. bernie sanders doesn't handle it well, he doesn't respond quickly. he talked over her. he got annoyed. he didn't look like a diplomat on stage last night and i think that was voters' takeaway. >> go ahead, john. >> i want to say quickly, first let's step out. maybe ben and i can agree on one thing, that we're a whole lot better on the debate than the republicans and let's embrace that thing we can agree on. >> i'll agree with you on that, john. >> i do think that there was a testiness there, but frankly hillary clinton was interrupting bernie and he was trying to get an answer in so they went back and forth. honestly it's one reason that i like the town forums that cnn held over the last several weeks. i think it fits better where each candidate can actually
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explain their positions and get questions from the voters. in that scenario there's naturally going to be a little bit pack and forth but i think we're making a little bit too much of it personally. >> john, somebody told me it's unfair people are holding bernie sanders responsible for his story about the ghetto and white people and race because he was quoting or paraphrasing what somebody told him. is that your understanding as well? >> i don't know what he was paraphrasing. i think there was a couple of examples that he tried to put out that said white people don't experience things that african-americans do. trying to hail cabs and doing things like that. in new york city that's been a story that's been repeated many, many times, that african-americans who try to hail cabs in manhattan, for example, to go to someplace in manhattan or to brooklyn, cabs won't stop for them. and i think that was the example he was trying to make. i don't know if he was trying to paraphrase the story, jake. >> thanks to both of you, really appreciate it. donald trump has ben criticized for saying things like this about some women.
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>> they'll walk up and they'll flip their top. wow. and they'll flip their panties. >> is trump writing the attack ads for the democrats? especially if he ends up running against hillary clinton. also, u.s. air strikes taking out more than 150 suspected terrorists while the u.s. military says they could not wait one more minute before they acted. "a real thing?t it's a great school, but is it the right one for her? is this really any better than the one you got last year? if we consolidate suppliers, what's the savings there? so should we go with the 467 horsepower? ...or is a 423 enough? good question. you ask a lot of good questions... i think we should move you into our new fund. sure... ok. but are you asking enough about how your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. sticking with our politics lead, women voters are often crucial, especially in presidential contests. in 2012 mitt romney won men
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voters 52%. 52% went for the republican. but obama carried women voters by 11 points, and thus he was re-elected. hillary clinton's support even among democratic women has proven unreliable so far but could donald trump be a dream candidate for her should they both emerge as their parties' nominees? let's bring in sara murray who's in madison. do they think trump's nomination might make some voters embrace a woman candidate who they don't necessarily like? >> reporter: democrats are fully aware that hillary clinton has suffered with female voters, particularly with the younger women they thought would be energized by her campaign and really aren't. but they are hoping that a republican nominee, donald trump, some of his past comments and past behavior will be just what democratic women need to show up for hillary clinton. democrats are readying their arsenal of crass comments like this one.
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>> a person who's flat chested is very hard to be a 10, okay? >> right. >> reporter: betting that donald trump's own words could be one of their most powerful weapons in a potential general election matchup between trump and hillary clinton. >> mr. trump insults and dismisses women. >> reporter: from trump's critiques of women and discussions of his own womanizing ways. >> they'll walk up and flip their top and they'll flip their panties. >> reporter: to crudely referencing megyn kelly's menstrual cycle. >> you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her -- wherever. >> reporter: democrats are paying attention, stockpiling donald trump's behavior. >> there's video, there's comments, of the things that donald trump has said over the last number of years. >> reporter: as clinton has struggled to consolidate support, particularly from younger women, allies like emily's list and a pro-clinton super pac believe trump's
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comments will ultimately help rally women and men to her side. >> i think you're going to have moms who don't like the role model for their children. i think you're going to have unmarried women who see this as belittling and patronizing. >> reporter: as for trump he brushed aside those howard stern comments. >> do you worry at all how that might look in a general election? >> howard is a friend of mine. we have a lot of fun. we have a lot of fun on the show. i was never a politician, we just have a lot of fun on the show. it's all clean, it's very clean. >> reporter: but there are signs he's trying to soften his edges. the campaign put forward his wife for chide her husband for his language, even when repeating members of the audience. >> i'm thinking just don't repeat it. don't repeat it. don't say it because the next day, media, all they will talk is about that but he repeat it. >> reporter: and trump has taken an unconventional approach for a
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republican and publicly defended planned parenthood. >> i'm going to be good for women's health issues. it's very important to me. very important to me. and maybe that's not a perfect conservative view. >> reporter: but there's little sign the shift will stop democrats from painting trump as unfriendly to women, in words as well as policy. >> he said he would do a much better job for women than i would. now that's a general election debate that's going to be a lot of fun. >> reporter: now, jake, remember we already saw a preview of what this general election battle might look like. hillary clinton and donald trump traded charges of sexism not too long ago and donald trump said hillary clinton was an enabler for her husband's infidelities so clearly a scorched earth battle to be ahead if these two are head to head in november. jake. >> later this week we will look at some of the potential challenges that hillary clinton
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might face versus donald trump. ted cruz pulled an ad featuring her after the campaign learned she starred in films such as "timegate, tales of the saddle tramps." so did cruz burn any chance he had of picking up her endorsement? she's going to tell us who she's voting for in the california primary coming up. hyeah?m. we've got allstate, right? uh-huh. yes. well, i found this new thing called allstate quickfoto claim. it's an app. you understand that? you just take photos of the damage with your phone and upload them to allstate.
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senator ted cruz said that if he had known that that ad that he personally approved featured an actress who did, shall we say, some erotic films, he would not have allowed her to have been cast. now, that actress's name is amy lindsay. while she has been been in films
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such as "bikini airways" and "time gate tales of the saddle tramps," she seies herself as a middle class working woman. you say as a republican, you're going to vote republican. is there a candidate you're laepilae leaning towards? >> there is. but i haven't come out to endorse anyone just quite yet. >> so we're following that story and happy to welcome back to the show amy lindsay, who is ready to endorse a candidate. so, amy, who are you going to vote for? >> donald trump. >> donald trump! may i ask why? >> yeah. i could be here for days. i actually became a fan of trump in the '80s. a friend of mine at college gave me his book "the art of the deal" and i actually read it over spring break. so, you know what, and i think if people would check out the book that he just put out in
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2015 "crippled america," it's pretty great. or heck, just go to his website, people say he's not talking about policies or issues, he's got seven of them laid out about immigration and taxes and vets and things like that. so i like what he stands for. and i think i've also kind of realized along this adventure that i've been having for the last couple of weeks that i think people are really attacking him and lying about him and i kind of know how that feels. so -- >> so you sympathize with him to a degree? >> i do. i really do. he's the front-runner, but he's also kind of -- especially in this last week or so become kind of an underdog. and i've been a fan of his -- >> let me ask you. you work in the film industry. it is not exactly known for being a bastion of conservative
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values. have you shared this with any of your co-workers, directors, actors, and if so, what do they think? >> you know, i kind of have followed the rules of no politics, religion or sex talk on social media and stuff. then i didn't really have a choice. and i felt that, hey, if people are going to be asking me, i'm going to at least speak my opinion. my whole thing is i don't think that i'm -- i'm not here to change anyone else's mind or get the vote, but i think everybody should have a right to talk about why they support someone and who they support someone and everybody is like, oh, if you like donald j. trump's page on facebook, i'm not going to be your friends. and i said i liked hillary clinton's and bernie sanders because i want to hear what they're saying. i think a lot of people don't get a woman voting republican in general. they say that's nuts.
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no, voting for hillary clinton as a woman to me is nuts. >> so you're going to vote in california in june. cruz is from your home state of texas. did you ever consider leaning toward the senator? and did his pulling the ad that featured you because of some movies you've been in, did that impact this decision at all? >> looking back, i think it has a little bit, yeah. like i said, i was definitely kind of up in the air about which candidate was going to be a republican candidate. i liked working on the cruz ad. people don't realize we did six of these ads and everybody thinks i only have 30 seconds. i had ten pages of commercials that were going to air on the internet and things like that. so i was educated on what ted and yeah, i haven't really been really happy with the way he's been going this recently. >> well, we hope you're doing okay and we really appreciate the fact that you kept your word, unlike so many people who tell us that they'll give us a
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big exclusive. you kept your word. thank you so much for coming back, we appreciate it. >> thanks, jake. don't forget the republican candidates face off next in cnn's republican debate in miami. i will be moderating starting at 8:30 p.m. eastern. tune in. north korea with its biggest threat yet to go nuclear and go nuclear first, but would kim jong-un actually do it? plus she's one of the biggest tennis stars in the world, but today maria sharapova dropped a bombshell.
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[ applause ] the what?! [ laughs ]
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welcome back to "the lead." topping our world lead, a major u.s. air strike taking out al qaeda-linked terrorists who may have been on the verge of attacking american troops. the pentagon says american warplanes killed at least 150 al shabab militants at a training camp in somalia about 120 miles north of the capital of mogadishu. it's a camp that the u.s. says it had its eyes on for several weeks. let's get right to barbara starr live at the pentagon. barbara, what can you tell us about this mission?
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>> good afternoon, jake. this is a very odd air strike. a mix of unmanned drones and manned fighter jets attacking this training camp 120 miles north of mogadishu killing, according to the pentagon, about 150 militants on the ground. but this is an unusual place for al shabab to operate and unusual for them to put that many people in one place. the pentagon says they have been watching the camp for several weeks and the intelligence showed them, at least, that these people were in the midst of planning an attack and they believe they ended an imminent threat against the small number of u.s. troops in somalia and the african peacekeepers also there. a bit of a surprise because al shabab has been back on its heels in recent months and years, however more recently, of course, al shabab, the group said to be involved in the recent attack that brought down a commercial airliner. also other attacks in and around somalia. this is a group that is quite
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capable of causing instability across east africa and total misery, of course, to the people of somalia. the details, however, it has to be said still remain very murky. the u.s. says it killed 150 militants on the ground. there are already some reports coming out of the area that claim civilians who were killed. the pentagon says it doesn't think they did kill any civilians in this strike. jake. >> barbara, thanks so much. we turn now to north korea where jim ko where kim jong-un's regime is threatening a nuclear threat. they called the annual war games a rehearsal for an invasion. let's get right to elise lav it. how is the u.s. responding to this threat from north korea. >> you've got to remember this is like textbook north korea. these exercises have been going on for 40 years and every year
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north korea threatens to launch the enemies into a sea of fire and this year isn't any different. it comes on the heels of that nuclear test by north korea, that long-range missile launch. now the u.n. has slapped some pretty tough sanctions so the tensions are really high. the u.s. taking the threats seriously but saying to north korea, listen, if you wouldn't be doing such destabilizing behavior in the region, maybe we wouldn't have a need for these exercises. as you said, these exercises are the largest ever, so it shows that the u.s. is very concerned about what's going on in the region right now. >> is north korea capable of hitting the u.s.? >> in short we don't think so, but we don't know. they have demonstrated that they have nuclear weapons. they have shown that they have these long-range missile capabilities to launch into space which feasibly means they could hit the united states. we don't know that they have been able to marry a nuclear war head, fit it on a missile and send it to the united states. this is what they haven't tested yet.
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but top military commanders say they believe they're working very closely on this, they're moving closer, and every time they test, they get even closer. so they may not be there right now, but they're moving towards it and it's very concerning, as evident by all you see the u.s. military operating in the region. >> thank you so much. she has five grand slams but now a shocking admission from maria sharapova. she said she made a, quote, huge mistake. ♪ you're not gonna watch it! ♪
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. just in, a federal judge has dismissed part of the federal government's $100 million civil fraud lawsuit against lance armstrong. the judge ruling armstrong does not have an obligation to pay back scholarship money provided by the u.s. postal service over
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the revelation that he used performance-enhancing drugs. armstrong, of course, finally confessed to doping in an interview with oprah winfrey three years ago. he was stripped of all seven of his tour de france titles in 2012. now to a separate bombshell from the world's richest female athlete. agents for maria sharapova said she would make a major announcement. she's recently had a string of injuries and lost a big match to serena williams back in january. today reporters thought she might call it quits and join peyton manning in the land of retirement, but instead maria sharapova shocked everyone in the room with her news. >> i wanted to let you know that a few days ago, i received a letter from the itf that i had failed a drug test at the australian open. i did fail the test and take full responsibility for it. >> joining me to talk about it, cnn sports analyst christine
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brennan. christine, shocking news. today she said, sharapova, that she's been taking a drug called mildronate but found out it's also called meldonium. how common is this drug? >> she's been taking this for ten years but most of us have not heard about it because the world doping agency only made this illegal the last few months. why would they do that? because they see it as a banned substance, they see it as cheating because it can also, according to my sources, increase metabolism and help with endurance. so there's much more to it than that. but this drug snuck up on us but maria has been using it for a long time. >> you almost never see an athlete make the announcement him or herself and take responsibility. usually they deny it. >> and that's what's so interesting about this. she decided to get out in front of this. she decided to say, hey, i did this. think about all these stories,
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lance armstrong, floyd landis, marian jones, one after the other denied for years until they were forced to come clean. the difference is maria sharapova has taken this bull by the horns and decided she's going to tell us that she did it. smart move. also i think an admirable move. but will it help lessen a suspension and get back into the good graces of the world tennis federation sooner by doing this. i think the answer to that is yes. >> you think it will be a relatively short suspension? >> she could face everything between two and four years. she's 28 years old and that would be career ending basically. but i could see getting time off for good behavior because she did this, because she's one of those rare athletes to admit it right away and face the music. i think they might give her a little bit less. but i do think they absolutely should give her some kind of ban, otherwise what good of your rules if you're not banning people for six months or so. >> her statement was very
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interesting. i'd like to play a little more from her statement if we could. >> i made a huge mistake and i -- i've let my fans down, i've let the sport down that i've been playing since the age of 4 that i love so deeply. >> obviously she has a huge fan base like a lot of pro athletes and for her a lot of them are children, young girls. what message do you think her mistake and her admission sends to children? >> certainly the first thing is disappointment. she came to the pressroom at wimbledon ten years ago and went person to person to say hello to the media, shake hands. i've never had a tennis player do that except maria sharapova so there's something great about that. you could say it's all about pr or because she wants to get to know people and do the right thing. she's always done the right thing and that's why this is so disappointing. i think it could be short-term problems for her and long-term gain. also what we've seen with marian
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jones and others, is when they are caught and admit i took a banned substance, can they start to use that as a positive. can they talk to kids about drug abuse and illegal substances. i'm going to guess, jake, maria sharapova will do that exact thing. >> it lunds like you don't think this is a career ending violation. >> it could be. if she gets two years or so, she's done. she's been injured. she has five grand slam titles but she's so far behind serena and serena has owned her in all these major competitions that they have played. so it could be over. i hope for her, though, it's not over. the fact is she is labeled now a cheater. she can say i didn't know, which is what she's saying. nonetheless, she has to know. when you get that e-mail saying this is now on the banned list and you've been taking this for ten years, you have to know that. you cannot say, oh, that escaped me. this is her career.
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everything about her career and her image is based on these pieces of information on the drug testing. >> christine brennan, always great to have you. thank you for joining us. follow me on facebook and twitter. i turn you over to wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, two-man race after big weekend gains. and with another super tuesday just hours away, donald trump and ted cruz are calling on marco rubio to get out of the race. but will rubio get a boost from big money campaign ads? pardon the interruption. hillary clinton and bernie sanders slam each other over the auto and wall street bailouts. it was sometimes hard to get a word in edgewise during our cnn debate. did either gain an edge going into the next round of primary contests. sophisticated bomb. just weeks after a laptop bomb blew a hole in an airliner over somalia, a similar bomb explodes in an airport there. will a devastating u.s. air strike keep the terrorists off